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  • Kangaroo – Sylvie Selig – Jonathan Cape 1980

    Kangaroo – Sylvie Selig – Jonathan Cape 1980

    Possibly our favourite kangaroo book.

    Picture book published by Jonathan Cape in 1980. Landscape 44 pages and an unusual construction in that every second page is a half page which creates a new image against the full pages … an interesting and amusing device. A pretty good copy.

    Our little kangaroo has an idyllic home life but is carried away by a bird of prey … not for long he is rescued and looked after and soon recovered to his grateful family. Every page a vibrant image. Not said but clearly based in the more tropical parts of Australia.

    Sylvie Selig was born in 1941 in France … her art cover a broad range of styles and her premium work is highly collectable … at the core is her vibrant imagination subtly bordering ion the surreal.

    Collectable kangaroo with striking colourful illustrations.


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  • The Water Babies – Charles Kingsley – 1920’s edition – illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith.

    The Water Babies – Charles Kingsley – 1920’s edition – illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith.

    The Water Babies was first published in 1863 in the midst of the Darwin’s developing theories on evolution .. more about that later.

    Water Babies has been re-issued numerous times, none more beautifully illustrated than this book. Published by Boots the Chemist (perhaps their best work during their foray into the book world).

    A substantial book … thickish quarto, ix, 240 pages with 12 super coloured plates, tipped in. Original green decorative cloth covered binding. Some spots on the page edges as usual (spongy paper), none on the plates, a very attractive copy of a desirable Water Babies.

    For those not in the know, a complex book, partly a satire supporting Darwin’s theory of evolution as commenced in “On The Origin Species”. The text briefly refers to Darwin, Huxley, Murchison and Owen.

    Huxley’s grandchild wrote to him after reading the book … “Dear Grandpater (they were posh) – Have you seen a Waterbaby? Did you put it in a bottle? Did it wonder if it could get out? Could I see it some day? – Your loving Julian” … Julian went on to be one smart chap also and wrote a great biography on Grandpater. Enough of that back to the book.

    As well as the whole evolution theme there are also pointers to Victorian issues … the gulf between the Have and the Have Nots. Protagonist Tom is a young chimney sweep not the son of an aristocrat. Later explorer Paul Du Chaillu shoots a gorilla who had reverse evolved from a human … the gorilla wanted to say ‘Am I not a man and a brother” .. further references to slavery etc etc. So all up quite a though provoking tale and still with modern day lessons … just need to think a bit.

    Water Babies a very special book and special beautifully illustrated edition


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  • The Opium Smugglers – Ion Idriess – First edition 1948

    The Opium Smugglers – Ion Idriess – First edition 1948

    Idriess back in Cook’s Passage and the Lizard Island. A tale written for boys and now grown up boys. Somewhat of a rarity.

    A first edition published by Angus and Robertson, Sydney in 1948. Without the jacket, octavo, 273 pages, original tanned cloth covered boards with shell design to front. End paper maps, ownership signature on front ends. A pretty good copy.

    The Lizard and opium


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  • Princess of China – Pixie O’Harris – Scarce First Edition c1946

    Princess of China – Pixie O’Harris – Scarce First Edition c1946

    Extremely rare little book by Pixie O’Harris published by Currawong Press undated but believed 1946. Reference bibliography Muir 5509.

    Landscape soft cover illustrated wrappers with a stunning colourful design. Staple bound, 48 pages with eight line drawings typical of Pixie O’Harris.

    Some signs of age and two of the illustrations have received some light colouring from some happy previous owner. Generally pretty good condition.

    A really beautiful story which ends on a special high. The beginning … “Small Honeysuckle was a little Chinese Princess, who lived thousands of years ago. She was as slight as a reed; and her face was as fair as a moon flower; her teeth were like the small white seeds of the melon; her hair was a cloud of dark mist about her head; her lips were as red as a rose in flame; her eyebrows were thin and arched and her lovely eyes were black as night and sparkled with laughter when she smiled. In her hair she wore the shining blue and green feathers of the kingfisher and ornaments of pearl”.

    Collectable Pixie O’Harris.


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  • The Evil Shadow – A Johnny Nero Adventure – 1967

    The Evil Shadow – A Johnny Nero Adventure – 1967

    Published by Fleetway in 1967 as part of the Secret Agent Series … this number 19. Card covers, perfect bound, 122 pages plus end fill cartoons.

    Quiet scarce, particularly in this condition. An upmarket, more adult, cartoon book. The Evil Shadow is set in Egypt, starts with a bomb at the Aswam dam under construction. A gold finger is found with links to valuable art work thought to be taken by the retreating German army in WWII.

    High profile businessman Johnny Nero has a side line as a secret agent … and is recruited to solve the mystery along with his formidable secretary Jenny Bird they have a busy time …

    Johnny Nero dealing with the “Evil Shadow” and statuesque Jenny Bird never a hair out of place.


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  • Biggles in Mexico – Captain W.E. Johns – First Edition 1959

    Biggles in Mexico – Captain W.E. Johns – First Edition 1959

    First Edition published by Brockhampton Press in 1959. Octavo, 184 pages, illustrated period wrapper, frontispiece and five other plates by Leslie Stead. A pretty good copy in a splendid dust jacket.

    A scarce Biggles in good form.

    Biggles is marooned with his mate Ginger in a Mexican village with three diamond thieves. Ginger has a bit of trouble with the environment and the snakes before Biggles pulls off his usual miracle.

    Biggles on tour in Mexico!


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